[WWI] Reposted from Hyperscale

dave fleming dave.fleming at dial.pipex.com
Mon Aug 23 11:40:05 EDT 2004

Bodies of WWI Soldiers Found in Glacier

ROME August 23 (Reuters) - The bodies of three Austrian soldiers killed in 
World War One have been found frozen and almost perfectly preserved in an 
Italian Alpine glacier.

Mountain rescue worker Maurizio Vicenzi discovered the mummified bodies on 
Friday, encased upside down in ice at 11,940 feet altitude on San Matteo 
mountain near the Swiss and Austrian borders.

"Using binoculars, I saw what looked like a stain on the Forni glacier and 
went to look," Vicenzi, 46, from the northern Italian town of Peio told 
Reuters on Monday.

"When I got close I discovered they were the bodies of soldiers frozen in the 
glacier. Nothing like this has ever happened in my lifetime. Bodies haven't 
been found in the ice around here for decades," he said.

Vicenzi's fellow rescue workers helped him remove the bodies on Sunday and 
transfer them to the Peio morgue by helicopter.

The soldiers' uniforms were mostly intact including leather belts, a gas mask 
and a cap with a star on it.

Historians are already studying Vicenzi's find and believe the men died during 
a battle on Sept. 3, 1918, probably killed by a grenade. Italian and Austrian 
troops clashed in the mountains on that date in what has been called "the 
great battle." The Austrians won but 11 soldiers were killed.

Among the relics left in Italy by World War One Austrian troops was a series 
of tunnels buried deep within the Marmolada glacier known as the "City of Ice" 
that largely disappeared during a heatwave last year.

"This is an important discovery from a historical point of view, and exciting 
for the communities on both sides of the border," said Vicenzi, who is also an 
amateur historian.

A funeral will be held on Tuesday afternoon and the soldiers will be laid to 
rest in the local military cemetery 86 years after they died. 

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